It is an honor to open this year’s University of Toledo Authors and Artists exhibit, which celebrates what to me is the greatest strength of the University of Toledo – its synthesis of scholarship and teaching.
University education differs from primary and secondary education in an important way. Higher Education has its roots in the Renaissance Universities, where students acquired knowledge by direct interaction with a Learned Master. In primary and secondary education the framework and content of the curriculum is specified by an outside authority, such as a State or local
Board of Education or a Legislature. Thus the task of the teacher is to convey information in a wide variety of different subjects
as it has been officially prescribed.
In contrast, we in higher education are very narrowly and deeply specialized, and are entrusted with both the prescription and
the delivery of the latest and best knowledge of our disciplines. This is epitomized by the principle of Academic Freedom and
the practice of the Award of Tenure. Thus we are granted the right to use our own knowledge both to specify the Curriculum
and to teach it. To insure that we have the opportunity to do this we are also granted Sabbatical Leaves to provide periodic
renewal and the updating of our knowledge and skills.
These are privileges, but with them come important obligations. We must remain actively involved in our respective fields,
aware of the latest developments and trends. The traditional terminal academic degree is awarded not because one has
acquired a specific body of static knowledge, but because the individual has demonstrated the ability to pursue a scholarly
thesis to its ultimate conclusion, and possesses the potential to continue that process throughout an entire professional life.
Thus our academic charge implicitly includes our own scholarly studies that contribute to the knowledge of our discipline,
with the publication of scholarly articles, books, artistic presentations, or other pursuits specific to our field of endeavor. It
also involves participation in and the arranging of Conferences, Symposia, Colloquia, and other meetings with our colleagues.
We must serve as peer reviewers and referees for the research articles of others, and some will serve as Editors or Members of
the Editorial Boards of our learned journals, and others will sit on artistic juries. If we are really doing our jobs, the time we
spend preparing for and delivering our courses should be only a fraction of the time it takes us to keep these courses current
There are great temptations to deviate from these principles. Many large universities have two faculties: a research faculty that
is seldom seen by students, and a teaching faculty that has little opportunity for scholarship. At small universities constraints
often force the faculty to be almost exclusively engaged in teaching. At the University of Toledo we have an ideal situation in
which nearly all of our researchers teach, and nearly all of our teachers do research. Over the years that I have been associated
with the University of Toledo, our graduate programs have consistently been developed to enable us to attract prestigious
scholars who also teach entry levels courses, and not to replace our scholar-teachers with TA’s.
It is my hope is that that the University of Toledo will always maintain this synergetic relationship between scholarship and
teaching, encouraging and nurturing research that has a strong scholarly content, and insisting that our researchers are also
our direct resource to our students.
Today we celebrate the fact that our faculty is a vibrant community of scholars, expert in and contributing to the evolving
knowledge. The joy of discovery and learning is its own reward, as is the excitement of conveying both our joy and our
knowledge to our students. Nonetheless, it is a pleasure to congratulate you on your accomplishments and to wish you
Larry J. Curtis
Distinguished University Professor of Physics and Astronomy